Sunday, October 2, 2011

Jogi Nyorai Saihoji temple

Yesterday we visited Jogi (Johgi) Nyorai Saihoji, a complex of Buddhist temples located 45 minutes away  by motorcycle from our city. Season-wise, this trip was officially our first trip to welcome the fall and say goodbye to summer. And temperature-wise, it was so cold!
For a comparison, this was the temperature on the road in September during our trip to Yakurai Garden. It was burning hot out there!

And this one was during our trip yesterday.

So much for a change! This temperature easily explained  for my shivering under my shirt and jacket that were supposedly warm enough for 20 C. The temperature in our city was indeed 18-20 C, but this Jogi area is located higher, thus has the lower temperature.
Lesson learned: listen to your husband when he asked you to put on warmer jackets, otherwise you`ll end up wearing his too-big-for-you raincoat to make the cold wind a little bearable.
This thermometer sticks on his motorcycle and I  thought it was broken, or even worse, didn`t function at all! But every time we pass temperature signs on the side of the road, they always show more or less same temperatures with his thermometer, I just have to accept that this buddy is nothing but reliable enough.

Anyway, on our way to the temple, we made a quick stop where this enormous Buddha statue gracefully sitting at the side of the road.

And here is the front view. I`m not big on statues, but it`s hard not to record this view.

Standing on the deck, we could see what he watches everyday.

After leaving the Buddha, we continued our ride and made another stop at this artificial lake near a dam. But come on, we should go to the temple already. I wasn`t too happy with that cloud over there. 

Here we came to Jogi bridge! Finally! 
But wait, I saw something wonderful from this very bridge, so we took another, and the last stop here before entering the main Jogi temple site. I know, right? So many "happy distractions"!

And this was what made us stopped at the bridge! 
Helloooo, fall! I love how the leaves reflect the transition of summer to fall through the green-yellow-orange gradation. See that pagoda on the left? Oh we`re going there now!

Err...I`m sorry, another distraction here:  a cute little buddy with the camouflage leafy color  on its head and back and the vibrant red coloring the legs blend perfectly with the bridge tone.

In to the temple area now! 
Alright, you might think that I`m not being serious here since you still can`t see anything with temples, but what`s on my hands here is what I`d call as simplicity at its best. This deep-fried tofu, which is called abura age, or aburage in Japanese, probably the most known keyword for Jogi`s specialties. There are vendors selling freshly cooked aburage for 140 yen (or 1.6 USD) each  and we can eat the aburage inside the shop or under the provided tents.  And yes, this is me standing at the tent, coulnd`t wait to eat this goodness while it`s still hot.

What makes this tofu incredible-in my opinion- is its pillowy texture with  thick and dense interior, but still retains its fluffiness, and the perfect thin crust wrapping all the goodness. And look at the size! I surely lost count on how many millions of tofu I`ve eaten in my life, but this one definitely soared to the top of my list for must-eat food.
How to enjoy this? According to the recommendation from the vendors, simply drizzle soy sauce and sprinkle some shichimi, or seven spices and they`re sure right! This tofu can`t possibly go wrong with them. Excuse me for the bite marks, but good heaven, this was GOOD! So good that we bought a pack of 5 fried tofu to bring home because one is not enough. So really good that he asked me another serving at home the same night before finishing half of mine too. And he`s not even a tofu lover!

Alright, before I drool over this tofu picture, this is the main gate of the temple, everyone.  Behind the gate is a mausoleum for Sadayoshi Taira, one of the important people involved in the history of this temple. We wanted to enter the gate, but it started to rain (oh, I knew it!) and we decided to make a quick visit to the other sites instead.
Hey, we bought our packed tofu at the store on the left! Oh..I can`t think anything else other than tofu right now.

And while we were waiting the rain to stop, he managed to get a picture of this main temple. People come and pray in front of and inside the hall. There is actually a Kannon Goddess statue standing in front of this temple, but too bad the rain, although not falling hard, has successfully turned off our mood in taking her picture.

Then we took a walk to the pagoda site and look what we`ve found! A koi pond!

Give me food, give me food!

I think this one in silver and red colors reminds me of Ultraman.

 And we both agreed that the white fish in the middle looks very pretty and graceful with its feathery fins.

Remember the pagoda top we saw from the bridge? Here it is, the five-storied pagoda.

Sorry for the white fleck near the pagoda top. I didn`t realize my lens was wet until I saw this picture and I thought I was careful enough.

The rain stopped already and we decided to go home before the rain started falling again. He was a little disappointed with the weather, but still we`ve spent such an amazing time here. With fantastic food too.
Happy Sunday!


  1. The abura age is quite interesting! It looks quite similar to Tochio aburage:

    I hate "kame mushi" (stink bugs)! I don't even want to come close to them!

  2. Haha, thank goodness I didn`t know that the bug was a stinky one! I didn`t smell anything in particular when I approached it, though. I`m going to check out your post now.

  3. When I watch your photos I want to jump on a plane today and live in Japan until I spend all my money on food an travels.
    I have never seen such a huge aburage (I also know someone who hates tofu, but rarely loves it... tofu is such an extraordinary ingredient).
    You will laugh at me but the thing I will remember the most from this post (apart from the huge aburage, I would also take several home, I remember I did it the first time I tasted a delicious pretzel in the German speaking part of Switzerland...). Anyway it's the red bridge! I have never seen such a cute modern bridge in my life!

  4. I have just come back to report I have seen exactly the same smelly bug on my balcony, very close to the window, so I killed it (I didn't want to find it inside) and it smells soooooo bad (when crushed)! Thank you Hiroyuki for the warning (I did it with several napkins just in case it was smelly).

  5. Sissi: LOL! This must be my most controversial post I`ve ever had since what I thought as a attractive looking bug turned out to be a little monster. You successfully cracked me up with your report on the bug attack to your room, Sissi.
    And about spending money on food and traveling, oh yes, you must do that!

  6. Beautiful sceneries and beautiful pictures. The fishes are extraordinary!

  7. The photos are simply breathtaking...!! I hope I can visit Japan one day...:)!! Those Koi fish are beautiful! My dad used to have a whole collection of Koi in his pond, such a pity that most of them died...:(

  8. Katerina: Thanks! Glad that you enjoyed the sceneries :)

    CG: Come visit here! By looking at your bento only, I always thought you live in Japan already :D

  9. Beautiful photos.. I miss home.... my memory of Kamemushi is pretty bad too. We used to have so many in the evening and all the clothes hanging outside has them. Ugh imagine they are in the clothes while folding the laundry!!! Sorry I had join the smelly bug discussion. =P

  10. Nami: LOL! This is hilarious! That kamemushi has easily overpowered the supposedly-famous aburage. Oh, I seriously need to get my self a guide book for bug world and bring it with me next time I go outside.

  11. Oh my God, I WANT to eat those fried-toufu :(( Will go there again when it's snowy :D
    Btw, during your way there, did you managed to pass the small bridge crossing the river? That bridge was too small. If you uses bus, you'll feel like floating *Harry Potter sensation* hahaha...

  12. Halooo...genki?? Small bridge? The only bridge I can vividly remember is the red one in the picture. We probably passed some other bridges on the way but I didn`t remember anything seems too narrow. After all, we rode the motorcycle and that gives the huge difference with the bus :p
    Eating that freshly fried tofu on a snowy day sounds GREAT! *drool*